The Giant’s Causeway is one of my favourite places to visit in Ireland. The first time I was up there it was the middle of winter so the group I was with had the whole place to ourselves. Aside from freezing our little butts off we had a marvelous time. Going up there in the summer was an entirely different experience. The natural wonder was packed with people scrambling over rocks and looking like sprinkles on a cake. As the National Trust recently opened a new welcome centre the Causeway is also attracting plenty of local visitors.
A few million years ago the Causeway was formed by erupting lava meeting water and solidifying at a record pace. I prefer the local legend of Finn MacCool. This figment of folklore has many tales, but I quite like the one my boyfriend told me:
The Tale of Finn MacCool
Thousands of years ago Ireland was a land of giants but there was only one giant in Antrim and his name was Finn MacCool. Finn MacCool was also a very lonely giant because all the female giants in Ireland were spoken for. One day Finn was chatting to a fellow giant who told him about a beautiful giantess in Scotland named Una.
“I tell ye Finn, if I wasn’t married I’d be over there right now. She is the most beautiful giantess in the world. Real hot stuff. Can even pour a perfect pint.”
Finn liked the sound of this so he went down to the beach and started laying down stones all the way to Scotland. This built the Giant’s Causeway.
Now Finn was also quite a shy giant so when he got to Scotland he hid in a bush to watch Una and he saw that she was smoking hot. Eventually he plucked up the courage to talk to here. They looked into each other’s eyes and fell in love instantly. Finn took Una on a few dates and after about a month he asked her to move back to Antrim with him. She said that she would. Finn was pretty chuffed. So off they went back to Antrim.
Now, Una hadn’t mentioned this, but there was another reason she was so keen to move to Ireland. She had been promised to a Scottish giant named Ben Donner whom she really didn’t like. Ben Donner had been out in Europe fighting other giants and being tough. When he came back to Scotland and found out that Una was gone he was very angry. He put out the word that in a couple of weeks he was going to cross the Giant’s Causeway to go and fight Finn.
When Finn heard about Ben Donner he just laughed.
“I can take him.”
“No, Finn,” said Una, “You can’t. Ben Donner is massive. I love you, but he’ll kill you.”
“Una, I’m a tough giant, I’m sure I can take him.”
“Well if you think so you should cross over and have a look at him.”
So Finn crossed back to Scotland and spied on Ben Donner while he was doing giant things like ripping up trees and pushing mountains. When he saw how big Ben Donner was Finn was scared and ran back across the Causeway, into his house and slammed the door behind him.
“Oh my God, Una, he’s going to kill me.”
“Don’t worry, Finn. I have a plan,” she replied calmly, “go down to the beach and get me the biggest, toughest rocks you can find.”
Eventually a couple of weeks went by and Ben Donner crossed the causeway. He went up to Finn’s house and knocked on the door. It opened, and it was Una.
“Una, where is Finn? I’ve come to fight him.”
“I’m sorry, Ben. You just missed him. He’s gone out for his morning run. He runs the whole length of Ireland in twenty minutes.”
The whole of Ireland in twenty minutes, thought Ben, he must be very fast!
“Why don’t you come in and wait for him?” asked Una, “He’ll be back any minute.”
“Alright,” said Ben Donner, “I’ll come in and wait.”
“Would you like a scone?” Una asked, seating Ben Donner by the fire.
“Alright, I’ll have a scone.”
Ben Donner took a bite of the scone and he broke all his teeth! They were the rocks Finn had collected disguised as scones.
“Yes, that’s how Finn likes them,” said Una, “he’ll eat a dozen a day.”
If these are his scones then Finn MacCool must be very tough! thought Ben Donner. And he’s very fast.
Una continued to make conversation when there was a noise in the next room.
“What was that?” asked Ben Donner.
“Oh,” said Una, “Finn and I had a baby. Would you like to see him?”
“Alright, I’ll have a look at this baby.”
They went into the next room and there was an enormous crib in the centre. Inside it was Finn himself dressed as a baby. All Ben Donner saw, however, was a full-grown giant sized baby!
If this is Finn’s baby then he must be huge! thought Ben Donner, panicking. And he eats those nasty scones, which means he’s very tough. And he runs the whole of Ireland in twenty minutes, which means he’s very fast. There is no way I can beat him!
“Umm… Una,” said Ben Donner, “I have to go. I have just remembered a prior arrangement I have back in Scotland. Giant business. Very important.” And he began to head for the door.
“Will you not stay?” asked Una, “Finn will be back any minute.”
“No, no. I must go, due to that affore mentioned prior arrangement.”
And Ben Donner left. When he was out of sight of the house he began to run. He got about half way along the causeway when he wondered if Finn might follow him. So he began to smash up the stones and was gone forever.
Back at his home Finn jumped out of the crib.
“You did it, Una!” he yelled, “you’ve saved my life!”
Now the story doesn’t really have a moral, but Tiernan says that if it has to have on it is “Always listen to your woman because she’s probably right.” I like this!
Compare this to the time I visited in March. I’m all rugged up like a marshmellow! I just remember being amazingly cold.